Sean Sherwood Year 12 Talk - Student Article
On Friday 23rd September, Sean Sherwood visited RSFC to talk to students about the importance of a positive mindset and mental resilience. His message deeply resonated with many students. Year 12 student, Faith Underhill has written a very poignant piece about Sean's visit and how it has impacted her attitude towards positivity and determination.
Last week, I was lucky enough to attend a talk about the benefits of a positive mindset and how, through mental resilience, we as humans are able to overcome any obstacles or expectations that may be put in our way. The speaker, Sean Sherwood, is a life coach, and was a contestant on season 6 of the Channel 4 show, ‘SAS: Who Dares Wins’. He began by talking about his early life. Straight away, the honest and open way he talked about his experiences really spoke to me. His mum, a struggling heroin addict, was unable to support him and his brother, causing Sean to be sent to a completely different school and to live in a completely different area with his foster family, seeing his mum initially only a few times a week.
At this new school, a school in a predominantly white neighbourhood, he experienced frequent racism, which he at the time did not realise. This caused him to feel the need to change to ‘fit in’, even going as far as to bleach his forearms, in an attempt to make them white. Going into Y11, Sean was predicted very low grades for his GCSEs, and was still in an environment where he felt like he did not belong, and should have to change himself to fit in.
Sean began talking of a ‘positive mindset’ and how the determination to succeed and a belief in yourself can get you anywhere. In the space of six months, Sean managed to turn his grades around, eventually achieving 11 GCSEs. He then spoke of how, on the last day of GCSEs, he found his mother passed out on the floor of the entrance to his house, presumably from a heroin overdose. He posed the question to us listening: ‘Hands up if you think I went back into school and did my exam anyway’. The hands that went up were of a very small number. Much to my surprise, he revealed that he did in fact go in for that exam, and even ended up passing the exam!
The whole message of the talk really stuck with me, and the idea that somebody from Sean’s situation could make it so far in life is honestly an extremely inspiring story. He has lived an amazing life, learning how to DJ and doing so in nightclubs, playing in the FA Cup, and even making it to the top 4 in the show ‘SAS: Who Dares Wins’. The talk itself kept me riveted for its duration, due to the honest way Sean spoke to us listening. For the future, it has really driven home the idea that no matter what occurs, or what obstacles present themselves, if I maintain a positive attitude and determination to succeed, these obstacles can be overcome.
Other comments from Sean's talk include:
"Sean's motivational speech was amazing!! It was really touching and made me realise to keep striving even when things aren't going your way. I really enjoyed the talk and felt really inspired after it. Thank you Sean for making yourself vulnerable and sharing your story. It really helped me."
"I really enjoyed listening to Sean’s talk on Friday and found it very inspiring how he managed to take such troubling experiences and channel the emotions he felt from all of that into something positive. It was all so moving and definitely showcased the importance of resilience."
"I really wanted to thank Sean for his talk because it didn't just remind me to stay strong and show resilience as I go through life but I really resonated with parts of his story and I'm honestly in awe of his achievements and so grateful that he was able to share his life’s story in the brilliant way he did. I don't think I will ever forget him and I'm hoping to get hold of his new book!! He has inspired me for life and I'd love to say a massive thank you."
"I thought that the message that Sean portrayed was extremely powerful. The idea that he managed to overcome so much and still become successful and happy I was so impressed with. The talk itself was one of the few hour-long talks I have listened to that kept me interested throughout all of its entirety, as I felt how authentic and honestly powerful his journey was. I was very impressed and can’t wait to see what Sean is capable of doing."